Objective—To develop and validate a questionnaire to
assess behavior and temperament traits of pet dogs.
Design—Cross-sectional survey of dog owners.
Animals—1,851 dogs belonging to clients of a veterinary
teaching hospital or members of national
breed clubs and 203 dogs examined by canine behavior
practitioners because of behavior problems.
Procedure—Owners were asked to complete a questionnaire
consisting of 152 items eliciting information on
how dogs responded to specific events and situations
in their usual environment. Data from completed questionnaires
were subjected to factor analysis, and the
resulting factors were tested for reliability and validity.
Results—Factor analysis yielded 11 factors from 68
of the original questionnaire items that together
accounted for 57% of the common variance in questionnaire
item scores. Reliability was acceptable for
all but 1 of these factors. Behavior problems in 200 of
the 203 dogs with behavior problems could be
assigned to 7 diagnostic categories that matched 7 of
the factors identified during factor analysis of questionnaire
responses. Dogs assigned to particular diagnostic
categories had significantly higher scores for
corresponding questionnaire factors than did those
assigned to unrelated diagnostic categories, indicating
that the factors were valid .Validity of the remaining
4 factors could not be examined because of a lack
of information on dogs with behavior problems related
to these factors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest
that the resulting 68-item questionnaire is a reliable
and valid method of assessing behavior and temperament
traits in dogs. The questionnaire may be
useful in screening dogs for behavior problems and in
evaluating the clinical effects of various treatments for
behavior problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223: